Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120

EMWD Unveils Water-wise Demonstration Garden

Caption for image 082 EMWD Board President Ron Sullivan discusses water conservation during the utility’s open house last week
EMWD Board President Ron Sullivan discusses water conservation during the
utility’s open house last week.

More than 1,000 people turned out Saturday to view first-hand Eastern Municipal Water District’s “water wise garden,” a habitat that incorporates drought-resistant plants and trees, rock landscapes and even artificial turf.

The open house showcased the attractiveness of desert plants, emphasized their lack of water consumption and stressed that California remains mired in a persistent drought.

“Saving water is what we will be promoting for a long time to come,” said Ron Sullivan, president of EMWD’s board of directors. “We are in a significant drought, and the Inland Empire has been hard hit.”

Sullivan, who represents Perris on the EMWD board, said water to Southern California has been reduced by 30 percent to help save the Delta Smelt and salmon. But on the bright side, he said EMWD customers have reduced their water consumption by 10 to 15 percent in the past year, in part because of ongoing education programs and a tiered pricing
system that charges a higher rate as water use increases.

EMWD’s “water wise garden” included agave
EMWD’s “water wise garden” included agave.

“We don’t have an unlimited supply,” Sullivan said. “The more you use, the more you pay.”
 EMWD spent $288,000 to plant the garden, which took more than a year to install and will not be fully completed until all the plants mature, which could take months or even years.  Water usage dropped almost 90 percent—from about 10 million to 1 million gallons annually--when drought-resistant “California friendly” plants took root.

Drought-resistant plants include agave, gum trees, India Hawthorn, Firethorn, Society Garlic, Prostrate Acacia and Texas Ranger. EMWD also employed river rock, decomposed granite, boulders and synthetic turf helped replace the old sod. Most water-resistant plants can be purchased at home supply centers or nurseries.

EMWD is based in Perris and provides water to much of the City.

Sharon and Chuck Kreul, who live in Perris, said they appreciate any tips to conserve water and other natural resources.

“It’s not going to rain any time soon,” Sharon Kreul said. “We’ve got to start treating water like gold.”
To learn more about water conservation: and

See a short video about the demonstration garden